Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone reprise their roles as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy in the sequel/cash grab “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” This time they’re joined by Jamie Fox as nerdy scientist Max Dillon/electric supervillain Electro, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborne/Green Goblin and, in spite of how the trailer made it look, two brief appearances by Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich/Rhino. If it all seems like too much, you’re probably right. And at this point, I think it’s safe to skip the plot summary of bad guys do bad things and hero needs to save girl from mortal danger and get down to the nitty gritty.
I am of two minds about “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” The first mind is the one that is, for the most part, shut off. I enjoyed the dangerous, high flying (or high webbing) situations our stalwart hero is thrust into. The film had all of the whiz-bang action that we’ve come to expect from a Spider-Man movie, and Electro and Goblin are colorful and entertaining villains. On a very superficial level, this film is a very fun must watch.
Days grow shorter, nights grow longer. You know what that means? It means that we’re moving toward the winter solstice, which occurs when the Earth is tilted on its axis away from the sun, causing the phenomenon of less hours of sunlight. Or, more to the point, it means that it’s time for new fall primetime shows! This year, surprise, surprise, we have more of the same: legal thrillers, medical dramas, and crime procedurals. This week I highlight what will be joining returning shows like “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “The Goldbergs” on ABC and “The Big Bang Theory” and “Person of Interest” on CBS. Check back next time to see what new offerings Fox and NBC are bringing to the table.
“Forever” (Premieres Monday, Sept. 22 at 10:00)
Here is another medical procedural where our medical examiner protagonist simply cannot die. He studies the dead to try to learn the secret of his immortality. As far as medical shows go, it doesn’t seem like the biggest of hooks. It is clear that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with new ways to keep medical shows alive, pun intended.
"What If" begins with a series of shots of downtown Toronto. The camera then goes indoors, showing several individuals in their twenties enjoying an evening party. Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) is screwing around with a word puzzle on the refrigerator, when Chantry (Zoe Kazan, "Revolutionary Road" ), stumbles upon him.
Later, you find out Zoe has a boyfriend (Rafe Spall, "I Give It A Year" ), and Wallace is mismatched with his alpha male roommate (Adam Driver, "Frances Ha" ). Zoe and Wallace kind of like each other, but they each have to deal with the obnoxious others in their lives first. What if there's little else to this movie?
Irene Lorenzi (Margherita Buy, "The Caiman" ) works as an inspector or "mystery guest" who secretly, meticulously checks five-star hotels to ensure they continue to be worthy of the highest rating. She enjoys her work, but find it a little lonely.
"A Five Star Life" offers plenty of picturesque scenery through its fine photography and variety of worldwide destinations. Especially early on, sensitive editing brings supporting characters into Irene's life with clarity. There's a feeling of relief that the whole movie isn't going to be about how she uses her white gloves to check for dust settled above picture frames. But the feeling is short-lived.
Offering neither the grandeur of "The Last Emperor" (1987) nor the visceral power of "Last Tango In Paris" (1972), Bernardo Bertolucci's "Me And You" (in Italian with subtitles) opens with a scene of 14 year-old Lorenzo sitting across from his psychotherapist's desk. Some unknown occurrence within the family has caused his mother to believe he needs counseling, but Lorenzo (played by first-time actor Jacopo Olmo Antinori) shows no desire to talk about it.
Indeed, you soon see that he's an emotionally troubled boy, highly manipulative, deceitful, and prone to fits of anger. He sneaks around his family's large house, trying to hear what his mother is reporting about him to his father. His scheme to secret himself away in the basement for a week while he's supposed to be off on a ski trip with his classmates seems less than wise. When he settles into his hiding place, though, you begin to relate to his yearning for privacy and respite.
The Muppets are at their best when they bring tongue in cheek humor and heartfelt emotion to their stories. They’re at their not so best when their movies come across as shameless exhibitions where a seemingly endless parade of celebrities can mug for the camera and/or show off their singing and dancing skills. Whereas 2011’s “The Muppets” fell under the former category and was a delight, this past March’s “Muppets Most Wanted” fell under the latter and was tiresome.
In “Muppets Most Wanted,” Kermit (voice of Steve Whitmire) and company get invited on a European tour where the prophetically named tour manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) books them in theatres so that his boss, the Kermit look-alike Constantine (Matt Vogel), can rob adjacent jewelry stores. As they point out in one of the film’s funnier and more memorable songs, Constantine is number one, and Dominic is number two. A mis-identification causes Kermit to be sent to a Russian gulag, where Tina Fey pops up as a guard named Nadia, who as it happens, is a big fan of Kermit.
Robin Williams died Monday morning, August 11. More information on his death can be found elsewhere. This article is not an obituary, eulogy, or commentary on mental illness, but rather a fond remembrance of the work of Robin Williams. Here are my five favorite moments from Williams’ storied career:
5) “Ten-thousand years will give you such a crick in the neck,” Williams bellows as the voice of the genie in “Aladdin” (1992), and so begins an onslaught of manic craziness that is equal parts zany, unpredictable, and funny. Impersonations, musical numbers, improv, you name a comedic style and Williams delivers, and delivers so well that he was given a “special achievement” Golden Globe award. It is unrestrained comedy at its very best.
Focus Features is positioning "The Theory Of Everything," their upcoming Stephen Hawking biopic, for maximum attention during awards season. Slated for November release, the film, directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh ("Man On Wire" ), already boasts a swanky trailer showcasing its heavy-hitting, A-list stars. In it, Felicity Jones looks ravishing in a new, raven-colored hairdo, and Eddie Redmayne ("Les Misérables" ) does in fact make a great-looking Hawking.
But, what's that noise? Computer speakers shorting out? This darn, mid-summer Miami weather! Oh... turns out it was only the sound of EARLY OSCAR BUZZ about this movie! Let's see, turn on the buzz filter, and... Ahhhh! Lovely British accents, strains of classical music, wonderful!